UWC trains 100 teachers to champion Olympic Education in South Africa
The URL has been copied
The URL has been copied
athletes prepare to race
Sport is not just about physical activity. It has been shown that it can be a remarkable tool to affect social development, holistic education and peace. Such outcomes are desperately needed in South Africa to strengthen our communities, our nation and build a better future.

Pierre de Coubertin was a French educator and historian best known for reviving the Olympic Games in the modern era. Coubertin strongly believed in physical education and sports as integral components of a well-rounded education for the youth. He famously said: "Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of a good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles".

This month, the team of the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) UNESCO Chair for Sport, Development, Peace and Olympic Education, Prof. Marion Keim along with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), facilitated a critical training session for the first 100 teachers on how to – among other things – use the universality of sport to support the delivery of curriculum inside and outside of the classroom.

The latest 50 Life Orientation and Physical Education teachers were the second group of educators from the WCED to receive the highly in-demand Olympic and Olympic Values Training offered by International Olympic Committee (IOC) accredited trainers Professor Christo de Coning and myself. Other facilitators included the UNESCO Chair team, coach Jose Cabral, Pierre de Coubertin Liaison Jasmina Majiet, facilitator Raedene Lucas and student volunteer Mawethu Mbanga.

This training programme will equip educators to become Olympic Education Champions at Western Cape schools in urban and rural areas. Having conducted OVEP Training globally with international coaches and educators in the past, the team could barely contain their excitement at sharing their expertise with the WCED and its educators.

The Programme aims to address societal issues such as:

• Healthy life-style

• Social inclusion

• Gender balance

• Physical and academic literacy

• Rebuilding of local communities using sport and physical activity as a tool

The initiative is a unique cooperation between UWC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Development and Support, Professor Matete Madiba, the WCED and their partners, the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee (CIPC) and the African Continental Association. Comité Internationale Pierre de Coubertin Committee (CIPC) Secretary General Elvira Ramini complimented the initiative as an excellent example of spreading the Olympic ideals and values and the mission and vision of the father of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, at South African schools and with the youth.

Teachers were introduced to the theoretical components covering topics such as Olympism, the history of the Olympic Games and the significance of the Olympic Values. Furthermore, they were taught practical activities to use in classroom situations. These activities focus on the Olympic Values of respect, excellence, friendship, fair play, joy of effort and the balance of body, mind and spirit.

Ms Jasmina Majiet is from the Hague Primary School – the only Pierre de Coubertin School in South Africa. There are Pierre de Coubertin Schools around the world which focus on holistic education as well as Olympic education. She encouraged other teachers to join the international school network and to become more involved in the Olympic Movement. Feedback from the educators was overwhelmingly positive. Many remarked that the training offered them a new way to conduct Physical Education lessons with a particular Olympic focus. The UNESCO Chair team is following up on teachers' requests to initiate Olympic initiatives at their respective schools.

Prof de Coning, who conducted the training evaluation, stated: “The findings of the evaluation showed that the course exceeded expectations and teachers described the event as very successful and a valuable experience. Teachers were provided with material and guidelines for their own use, and teachers reported feeling empowered to offer Physical Education lessons in alternative ways. The emphasis on values was regarded as highly relevant to the challenges that learners and the country were experiencing”. A senior WCED official observed that “with the use of relevant examples and stories, the course engaged the audience and established a sense of unity among strangers. This was a very successful and joyous experience. Your passion ignites the same in others who might not have been as passionate before”.

The next training session will be held in a rural community, and it is expected that this Olympic Initiative and training for educators and coaches, as well as sports leaders and managers, will soon be offered in other provinces in the country.


Associate Professor


South Africa
All sports
Sustainable Development Goals
3 – Good health and well-being
4 – Quality education
17 - Partnership for the goals
Target Group

Related Articles

young PlayLA athletes pose

PlayLA Continues to Inspire with Spring Adaptive Sport Programs

Howard Brodwin
The URL has been copied
A team wearing green football jerseys and white shirts are lined up in two rows gesturing in triumph with fans in stands in the background.

Special Olympics European Football Week 2024: Celebrating the Beautiful Game for All

Aoife O'Grady
The URL has been copied
The FIVB Volleyball Foundation: Serving The World Through Volleyball!

Launch of FIVB Volleyball Foundation Aims to Serve The World Through Volleyball

Nick Dawes
The URL has been copied
street children celebrate

Team Applications Open for the Street Child World Cup 2026 in North America

sportanddev.org Community
The URL has been copied